Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – All New Thanksgiving Leftovers

The big dinner is over and of course (if you are like me) you have more leftovers than you know what to do with. I buy disposable containers to send food home with guests, but I still have a lot of leftovers. My husband will only do Thanksgiving part deux once (doing the meal over again). I’ve created a few recipes in the past that add a little twist to the usual sandwiches.

Speaking of sandwiches, I have two that are very tasty; one hot and one cold. For the hot one, use pretzel buns and spread Dijon mustard on top and bottom. Layer on sliced turkey and asiago cheese. Heat open faced in a medium oven (350 degrees) till cheese is melted. Make a fresh turkey salad for the cold one. Combine cooked, crumbled bacon and cubed turkey with butter lettuce, avocado, onion, and tomato. You can go two ways with the dressing. You can use straight mayo for a more traditional salad. For a lighter, tastier dressing mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some crumbled blue cheese. Stuff into fresh pocket pita bread.

Turkey hash is a new dish for breakfast. Cube new red potatoes and boil briefly, for 3 minutes or so. Sauté some onions in olive oil till soft. Add one chopped red pepper and chopped garlic (2-4 cloves, depending on taste). Cook 3 more minutes, adding a sprig or 2 of fresh thyme. Add potatoes and cubed turkey and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup water and cover loosely while you cook the eggs.

Got leftover ham? I’m not a big ham eater but if you add cheese, I’m game! Lay out puff pastry sheets on a parchment covered baking sheet and cover with a thin layer of pizza sauce. Layer on sliced ham and provolone cheese, roll into a log, and seal with beaten egg. Brush the rest of the log with the remaining egg. Slice into pinwheels with a serrated knife and secure each with a toothpick. Bake till golden, ten minutes or so. Great for an appetizer or add a salad for a light meal.

Turkey can work in spaghetti too! Add cooked turkey to sautéed onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add 2-3 cups of your favorite marinara sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with plenty of parmesan and crusty bread. This sauce works well with studier pasta, like mosticcioli.


5 Open House Myths, Debunked

Open houses have long been a part of the real estate process for sellers. These small windows of opportunity give prospective buyers a chance to scope out homes on the market to see what’s out there, even if they’re not necessarily ready to buy just yet. More importantly, they give sellers another platform to market their property in order to get as many eyes on their listing as possible.

But even though we all know what open houses are and why they exist, there still persists some myths about them. Whether you’re on the buying or selling end, it’s important to get familiar with some of these myths and the truth behind them.

1. They’re a Waste of Time

Since most buyers typically take to the internet to begin their home search, aren’t open houses outdated and simply a waste of time? After all, buyers have the internet at their fingertips and are able to search multiple listings within a short period of time thanks to high-resolution photos, virtual tours, and video of properties on the market.

But as convenient and innovative as such digital marketing platforms certainly are, there’s no substituting for being there in person. Even though online marketing may grab the attention of prospective buyers, that rarely seals the deal. The next logical step in the process would be to view a property in person. And although buyers can make an appointment to view a home they’re interested in, open houses provide another opportunity for buyers to check out homes on the market.

Open houses are also great for buyers who may not necessarily have started their home search just yet. And by coming across an open house, that may be just enough to pique their interests and get the ball rolling when it comes to getting serious about buying and putting in an offer.

2. They Don’t Lead to Real Sales

Open houses might get a lot of traffic. They might even get a lot of prospective buyers to consider putting in an offer soon if they like what they see. But does that mean they will lead to a sale?

Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. It all depends on the market, the home itself, and the unique situation. There is no guarantee that an open house will definitely lead to a sale. One thing is for certain, however: more traffic means more people will see the home, which can’t be a bad thing. The more eyes on the home, the higher the odds of receiving an offer.

In fact, a recent Inman survey revealed that about one-third of those polled said that an open house played some sort of role in the sale of a property. While a sale as a result of an open house isn’t exactly a sure thing, it can certainly help increase the odds.

3. They’re Mandatory

Open houses usually take place shortly after a listing goes live in order to generate as much interest as possible. A listing’s interest level is usually highest and hottest during the first few days after the listing has been put up on the market, so the idea behind holding an open house during this time is to strike while the iron is hot.

But just because the tactic of holding an open house soon after a listing hits the market exists doesn’t mean there’s no option of forgoing the open house altogether. For many sellers, open houses are not an option.

Whether sellers prefer some level of privacy or anonymity while their house is on the market, or don’t like the idea of having masses of complete strangers meandering throughout their home all at once, they have the option to waive the open house if they so choose. There’s nothing written in a real estate contract that states that an open house is a mandatory part of the process.

4. They’re a Security Threat

The idea of strangers walking throughout the home and snooping behind all doors and drawers can make a seller feel uncomfortable, and understandably so. In fact, security is certainly a crucial factor to consider and account for before any open house takes place, so this particular myth isn’t exactly completely unfounded. But with the right measures in place, open houses are usually pretty safe.

Before an open house takes place, sellers are encouraged to lock up or remove any valuables, medications, or sensitive paperwork that would be an attraction for thieves. Agents hosting the open house are encouraged to keep all windows and doors locked, aside from the main entrance to the open house to make sure others are not able to enter from anywhere else. A sign-in sheet is also recommended so that agents can keep tabs on exactly who visits.

As long as the right measures are taken to secure both the home and the agent, there’s little need to use the potential threat of safety as a reason not to hold an open house at all.

5. Only Nosy Neighbors and Tire-Kickers Will Show Up

Sure, it’s highly possible and even probable that neighbors might show up with the sole intention of just seeing what’s behind closed doors. There may even be those who may have just been passing by and happened to see an open house sign, and decided to pass some of their time checking the place out.

But in addition to these possible visits, there will more likely be those who are considering making a home purchase in the near future and may even be interested in the house in question.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of advantages of holding an open house. In fact, they’re usually more of a benefit than a nuisance. That said, they’re not mandatory, so sellers can choose whether or not to have an open house after they put their homes up on the market. Savvy real estate agents know exactly how to hold a successful open house and make the most of these two-hour windows of time in order to maximize their use.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Pulling Out All the Stops To Welcome The Holiday Season!

I’ve been warning you and now they’re here!  Chicagoans will be pulling out all the stops this weekend to welcome in the holiday season!

Chicagoland’s favorite holiday tradition since 1996 returns to the Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) in The Loop with Christkindlmarket Chicago 2018!  Christkindlmarket offers visitors a unique holiday shopping experience.  Offerings include traditional German food like bratwursts and sauerkraut, potato pancakes, leiberkäse, and of course mulled wine.  Shop German handmade items like beer steins, cuckoo clocks, ornaments, and other crafts.  A German/European candy shop is also a must-see.  The Christkindlmarket is no longer just a German tradition, it has become a Chicago institution!  Don’t forget to pick up some candied nuts made on-site before you leave!!

The 105th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting takes place Friday at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square (201 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop.  Miguel Cervantes, star of Hamilton, will serve as the emcee for the ceremony featuring music, special guests, and fireworks after the lights go on at 6:30 p.m.!  Even Santa Claus will be there!!

The 27th annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival rings in the 2018 holiday season with two days of free, family-friendly activities.  The festival begins Friday (4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.) at the Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) on the Near North Side with a full lineup of activities.  Continuing Saturday at 11:00 a.m. is an interactive wonderland of holiday-themed activities, a Kids’ Zone, and samples from crowd favorites Garrett Popcorn, Frango, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, and more!  The fun culminates with the grand Tree-Lighting Parade down North Michigan Avenue with grand marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse direct from Walt Disney World® Resorts in Florida!  Keep your eyes out for Santa Claus as well!!

The Madison Square Garden Company presents a limited holiday engagement of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas-The Musical at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.) in The Loop from November 16-25.  It’s a heartwarming, whimsical holiday classic live on stage!

Perfectly timed as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, the 16th annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair returns to Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood on Saturday (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).  It is an unsurpassed celebration of play for kids, parents, and grandparents; as well as toy and game enthusiasts with hundreds, if not thousands, of toys and games!  Costumed characters, deep discounts for the hottest toys and games for the holidays, giveaways, stage events, magic shows, contests, and more are all part of the fair as well.  After all, it’s the largest playdate in the world at the largest toy store you’ve ever seen; so come out & play!!

Come out and enjoy a fun-filled game of bowling at Pinstripes’ Bowl A Turkey, Give A Turkey, Get A Turkey located at 435 E. Illinois Street in the Streeterville neighborhood on Saturday & Sunday.  Help raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry and its mission to end childhood hunger!

It’s Turkey Time on Thursday, November 22nd, and Uncle Dan’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (new sponsor this year) kicks off the holiday season with a fun-filled morning (8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.) in the heart of downtown Chicago on State Street from Congress to Randolph!  As usual this parade features the nation’s best marching bands, giant popular inflatable balloons, spectacular performance acts, and much more!!  It’s a great way to begin your Thanksgiving Day!!!

Tired of hosting Thanksgiving dinner?  Well, here’s Chicago’s Thanksgiving Dining Guide as an alternative!


CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lakeview, Chicago Loop, Andersonville, Oak Park

Lincoln Park: The holiday season is fast approaching! Mark your calendars for December 5 and get yourself to Theater on the Lake for an evening of red wine, great food, and holiday fun! Theater on the Lake is completely renovated and is partnering with Jackson Family Fine Wines for an evening of walk-around tasting of cabernets, red blends, and pinot noirs. Misericordia will also be displaying a variety of holiday gift options. Your purchase directly supports their mission to support their residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All wines will be available for purchase from Vin Chicago! The Lakefront Restaurant’s Executive Chef Cleetus Friedman has put together a menu of lovely wine samples and food bites for you to enjoy during the evening. You can look forward to meats and cheeses, slow cooked short ribs, roasted butternut squash polenta, seared pork tenderloin, and a portobello mushroom and bleu cheese dip. Admission is $30 per attendee. Find more information and purchase your tickets here.

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Is there any better way to celebrate the holidays than by seeing a  holiday show? Join The All Fools Company for their production of “The Greatest Holiday Show Alive Ever Live!” This farcical vaudeville romp is a love letter to everything Looney Toons, Borscht Belt, and Monty Python. The show is performed at The Den Theatre every Saturday night at 8 pm from November 24 through December 29. Tickets are just $25! Purchase yours here.

Lakeview: The Nutcracker is a timeless, classic show for the holiday season! The story is inspiring, the music is gorgeous, and the choreography is charming. Join Ballet Chicago for their production of The Nutcracker at the Athenaeum Theatre. The show opens on Friday, December 7 at 7 pm and runs through Sunday, December 16. Tickets range from $17 to $47. Find the full show schedule and purchase your tickets here.

Chicago Loop: The Apollo Chorus’ rendition of Handel’s Messiah has been performed every December since 1879. This is the 139th year of performing this timeless and beautiful work! This year, Apollo welcomes outstanding soloists Jamie Rose-Guarrine (soprano), Annie Rosen (mezzo), Josh Lovell (tenor), and Evan Boyer (bass). You only have two chances to catch this amazing concert! Saturday, December 15 at 7 pm and Sunday, December 16 at 2 pm at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Tickets range from $35 to $70 and can be purchased here.

Andersonville: You don’t want to miss the St. Lucia Festival of Lights on December 13! One of Andersonville’s many traditional Swedish events, the festival begins with a torch-lit procession down the sidewalks of Clark Street at 4:45 pm, beginning at the Swedish American Museum. Children and adults are welcome to join the procession! Afterwards, everyone is invited to the Lucia celebration at the Museum. There will be a telling of the Lucia legend, family entertainment, and Swedish holiday treats. Admission is $1 or a can of food to benefit Care for Real, Edgewater’s food pantry. Find more information here.

Oak Park: The Animal Care League is hosting their 33rd Annual Holiday Bazaar on Friday, November 30, Saturday December 1, and Sunday December 2! Hours are Friday from 3 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Shop for new holiday decor, lights, gift wrap, fresh baked goods, and much more! The Bazaar will also feature fantastic, new pet items for your four-legged friends. You can also sign up for the basket raffle, enjoy a relaxing chair massage, listen to local musicians, and snack on baked goods and refreshments. There will also be pictures with Santa on Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and Sunday from 12 to 2 pm. All proceeds benefit Animal Care League in their efforts to care for local homeless animals looking for a second chance. Find more information about this awesome event here!


Restaurant Review – Uncommon Ground

This week took me to a charming new spot: Uncommon Ground. Uncommon Ground is a huge, multi-facetted space, located at 3800 N Clark St. in Lakeview. Not only are they a restaurant; this location also houses Greenstar Brewing, the first certified organic brewery in the state of Illinois. Their Edgewater location, 1401 W. Devon Ave., features an organic rooftop farm. 100% of the produce is utilized in both restaurants. The farm also hosts annual urban agriculture internship opportunities each summer, as well as educational and private tours by appointment. Additionally, both locations feature live music and events every night! After reading all of this on their website, I was even more excited to go! We popped into the Lakeview location on a Friday afternoon around 2 pm. There were just a few tables occupied, so we were seated right away. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that brunch is served until 3 pm! The brunch/lunch menu is sizable, but not overwhelmingly so. I love fall brunch foods, so I decided to order the Autumn Vegan Vegetable Hash: carrots, onion, mushrooms, delicata squash, kale, sweet and russet potatoes, vegan chorizo, piperade, and an egg. Piperade is a typically Basque dish from Spain prepared with sautéed onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and red Espelette pepper. This was absolutely fantastic! The vegetables were perfectly sautéed and each bite was more succulent than the last. I’ve never had vegan chorizo before, but it was pretty darn good! I loved the rich and spicy flavor of the piperade as well. My mom decided to order the Uncommon Huevos: black bean cakes, eggs over easy, ancho chili sauce, chihuahua cheese, cilantro, lime, and tortilla chips. She also ordered a half Greens + Grain Salad to share: roasted apples, winter squash, arugula, kale, quinoa, toasted pepitas, and fried rosemary tahini dressing. The Uncommon Huevos were marvelous! The black bean cakes were crispy and flavorful. And smothered in cheese, eggs, and chili sauce— how could it get better?! I loved the salad as well. All the ingredients were super fresh and it was a great compliment to the warm brunch dishes.

The Lakeview location is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner every day. Brunch is Monday through Friday from 11 am to 3 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm. Lunch is Monday through Friday from 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Dinner is Sunday through Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm. For more information, check out their website.


Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Thanksgiving Meal Planning

Yes, it’s that time of year already! This year seemed to fly by! I guess the older you get, the faster time goes. A lot of people get really stressed this time of year, especially if they are doing the BIG DINNER. Relax! With a little preparation (and a few tricks), you can have a stress-free Thanksgiving. Besides, your guests are friends and family. If something goes wrong, I’m sure they will be forgiving.

First, get yourself a legal pad. In the first column, list all the dishes— including appetizers. Next, list any times or special instructions like “Stuffing goes in the oven at ‘x’ time— one hour before dinner.” Or “Turkey goes in at noon for 4 o’clock dinner!”.  On the right half of the paper, write your shopping list. Creating the list this way cuts down on missing items! Also include when items need to be in the house. Make sure there is enough time for the turkey to thaw. Get all the staples early and purchase perishables 3 days ahead of time.  I have a master list I keep on my computer. This way, I can make changes easily— although we usually have a similar menu every year.

Look over your menu. There are many items that can be made ahead of time. Stuffing, appetizers, pies, casseroles, and all your vegetable prep can be done one or even two days ahead. Even that perennial green bean casserole can be done the day before; just add the final onion topping on before baking. While the turkey rests, bake the green bean casserole and the stuffing. Roast the brussels sprouts you halved and cleaned Wednesday or Thursday morning. Toss with EVOO and garlic and roast at 400 degrees till crisp tender. Warm in the microwave before serving. Use that microwave, it’s invaluable this time of year! Prep all the rest of your vegetables like crudité.

Use your neighborhood grocery store as a shortcut too! All major chains cater for the holidays. While I still want to make my own recipes, you can find some good choices like veggie and appetizer trays. I always buy my dinner rolls at the store bakery! They are delicious and you can warm them in your trusty microwave. Take advantage of people asking to bring something and have them bring a favorite appetizer or dessert. I often do this as it makes it easier when planning the day to have items taken care of.

Gather all your cutlery, dishes, pans, serving pieces, and linen by Monday at the latest. It’s better to know before Thursday that you need more large bowls for serving. I am also a fan of disposable aluminum. Just make sure to properly support anything heavy. Set the table one, two, or even three days ahead. Cover with a clean sheet to keep clean and dust free.

So, the key word is PLAN. Things will go smoothly when you follow your master plan. It will even give you time to enjoy your guests. Again, accept offers of help! Assign someone to bartend; have someone else wash dishes as you are cooking. And most of all RELAX!


7 Must-Do’s When House Hunting

House hunting is an exciting time. When you’re finally ready to buy a home, the next logical step would be to scope out different homes on the market in order to find the one that you fall in love with and meets all your needs. But as fun as it can be to hop from one home to another, it’s also a task that you need to make the most of.

When visiting homes on the market, be sure to keep the following in mind.

1. Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage

How do you know how much you can afford to pay for a home? Are you planning to just arbitrarily visit homes regardless of their price? Not only is this a waste of time it can also set you up for disappointment.

But you can make the most of your time house-hunting by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. While this is not a guarantee that you will definitely get approved, it is a foot in the door.

Your mortgage broker will assess your current finances on a surface level and will pre-approve you for a certain loan amount. From there, you’ll have a better idea of what price range you should focus on when searching for a new home.

2. Hire a Seasoned Real Estate Professional

Once you’ve made a visit to your mortgage broker, the next professional that obviously needs to be recruited is a real estate agent. Hiring a professional with experience in the neighborhoods you’re interested in will give you a leg up in the process.

They’ll make sure you spend your time wisely searching for homes that match your criteria and will help you make sense of potentially complex real estate contracts. Your agent will be sure to include the right contingencies to protect you and will negotiate on your behalf to help get you the best price possible.

3. Don’t Let Minor Repairs Scare You

Most buyers prefer to buy a home that’s in move-in condition, with nothing to do except move their belongings in. But it’s not uncommon for resale homes to have minor little issues here and there that might need some attention.

Don’t let these little issues deter you from potentially landing a great home at a great price. Try to look past things that can be easily rectified, especially if you love the home and the neighborhood it’s in, and the price fits within your budget. Unless you build the home yourself from scratch and it’s brand new, it’s likely that there may be things that might need some tweaking to make the home perfect.

4. Keep a Look-Out For Signs of Major Problems

While little issues might not be such a big deal, more serious problems could cost you a lot more than you’d care to spend. During your showing appointment, be sure to pay attention to any red flags that could be signs of much bigger issues that you may have to deal with, including the following:

  • Musty smells, which could be a sign of water infestation and even mold;
  • Stains on ceilings, floors, and walls, which could also point to water problems;
  • Uneven floors, ‘sticky’ doors and windows, and large cracks in the foundation wall, which could be signs of a faulty foundation;
  • Gnaw marks on trim and other wooden components, which could be a sign of a termite infestation.

Your home inspector will be able to uncover any issues you may not have noticed during your viewings, so be sure to include a home inspection contingency in your real estate agreement.

5. Make a List of Must-Haves

Who wouldn’t love a huge lot, a gorgeous view, 10′ ceilings, granite counters, multiple walk-in closets, and Sub Zero kitchen appliances? While you just might be able to get all of these things, it’s important to be realistic about what your budget can get you. Although there may certainly be things you’d love to have, be sure to differentiate between your “needs” versus your “wants.”

Before you visit your first home, go in armed with a list of absolute must-haves in order for the home to suit your lifestyle. While you may be open to compensating certain traits, others might be ones that you won’t be so open about sacrificing.

6. Scope Out Different Neighborhoods

You might have a good idea of exactly where you’d like to live, but keep an open mind about other communities that you might not have thought about. Your real estate agent may have some neighborhoods in mind for you to check out that they think might be places that would suit your tastes and lifestyle.

The location of the home you buy is even more important than the actual house. The structure itself can be changed, but there’s nothing you can do about the location. Think about important things such as the types of schools in the area, proximity to your place of work, noise pollution, future developments, and businesses in the area before settling on a specific neighborhood and lot.

7. Book Second Showings on Homes That Make the Short List

Don’t put in an offer after only visiting a home once. Even if you believe you’ve found “the one,” it’s still important to check the place out one more time before signing off on an offer. There may be things that you might not have noticed the first time around, and viewing the home a second time around will give you another opportunity to see the place in a different light.

When you do book a second showing, consider going at a different time of day than the first time around. The way a neighborhood seems during the day might be totally different than how the area is at night. Things such as traffic and how neighbors behave could differ at various times of the day.

The Bottom Line

Buying a house is a huge deal and a major expense. The last thing you want is to suffer from the dreaded “buyer’s remorse.” But you don’t have to. With careful planning, sound house-hunting tactics, and a seasoned real estate agent by your side, you can make the most of your house-hunting trips and buy the home of your dreams.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Getting Closer to the Holiday Season!

What do Chicagoans do before the frenzied holiday season is upon them?  They take advantage of non-frenzied weekend events before the big gobble day arrives in all its glory!!  We’re getting closer to the holiday season (less than two weeks away).

Have some relaxing fun this Saturday at The Field of Screams Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt in the South Loop neighborhood at the Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.).  Someone (or something) is bumping off the Field Museum’s staffers who were involved in acquiring a sacred Egyptian relic.  Your team of sleuths will have to crack a hieroglyphic code, question a suspect, and uncover the museum’s secrets to stop the killings!  You’ll even experience fun challenges along the way like exploring an Egyptian tomb, barging into a cocktail hour at an African watering hole, and many others!!  Can you crack the code and stop the killings?

Begin celebrating your holiday season at the JASC’s annual Holiday Delight – Kodomo Matsuri (Children’s Festival) on Saturday (10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) at 4427 N. Clark St. in the Uptown neighborhood.  This festival hosts a wide variety of select vendors who specialize in Japanese, Japanese American, and Asian handcrafted goods from jewelry and accessories to specialty paper items, garments, ceramics, books, and more.  Then satisfy your taste buds by enjoying sushi, teriyaki kabobs and burgers, and homemade baked goods while the Kodomo Matsuri entertain the kids with games, craft projects, Japanese dance and drumming demonstrations, and even a pre-Christmas visit from Santa Claus!

Take in a neighborhood play, Meet Me in St. Louis at the Edge of the Wood Theatre (6736 N. Loleta Ave.) in the Edgebrook neighborhood.  This is a wholesome and delightful portrait of a turn-of-the-century American family.  Memorable musical numbers include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “The Trolley Song” along with the title song itself!  Best of all, Dean’s Team’s very own Rachel is in the play!!

It’s that time of year again when Gallagher Way (3637 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood transforms into the Winterland at Gallagher Way offering guests a series of winter events and programming through January 27, 2019.  Neighbors, families, and visitors are invited to glide on the ice rink outside historic Wrigley Field, gaze upon a festive interactive art display, and celebrate the holiday season!

Grab your family and friends and show your red & white pride at the Polish Independence 10K Run-Walk – Bieg Stulecia on Sunday (11:11 a.m.) at Montrose Harbor, Grove 16 (601 W. Montrose Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  This race commemorates the 100th anniversary of Poland’s resurgence as a sovereign country.  All finishers will receive a custom Bieg Stulecia medal and there are prizes for winners of different age/gender divisions!

Witness gritty, profound, shocking, visceral, and inspiring films that manifest the spirit of adventure at the Adventure Film Festival Chicago on Sunday at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) in the Lakeview neighborhood.  This film festival showcases gripping tales from the edge of the believable featuring 2018 award winners on a World Tour traveling from Boulder to Chicago, New York, Santiago, and several major cities in between.  These journeys and stories are where dreams are born and legends are made!  Doors open at 4:30 p.m. (time to mingle, buy drinks/snacks, browse the raffle and enter to win, check out sponsors), films begin 5:30 p.m. and raffle winners announced at 8:30 p.m.!!

Are You Looking Forward to the Holiday Season?

Tips For Selling a Home on a Busy Road

There are so many attractive features that a property can possess that will help it sell quickly. But on the other hand, there are also a number of negative traits that can make selling a home much more difficult, and being situated on a busy road is often one of them.

A home perched on a quiet lot tucked away from all the hustle and bustle of thruways is usually a much more attractive option for buyers than a home that abuts a main roadway. The noise and traffic can be deterrents for buyers.

But if you happen to be selling a home on a busy street, don’t fret. There are things you can do to help ensure that your home sells in a reasonable amount of time and for a decent amount of money.

Beef Up Your Landscaping

Landscaping does so much more than just makes the outside of a home look pretty. When done strategically, it can actually help to camouflage the traffic and drown out the noise from passing vehicles. Consider planting shrubs or hedges along the edge of your lot closest to the street to help minimize the noise.

Add water features with the relaxing sound of trickling water to further cancel out the noise. Build a fence around the perimeter of the front lot, and outfit it with greenery.

There are plenty of ways to make good use of landscaping to help reduce the negative impact that being on a busy road may have.

Create a Backyard Oasis

While the front yard might be close to the street and be exposed to a lot of noise from passing cars, the backyard doesn’t have to be so noisy. Take your landscaping a little further and take it to the backyard to create a quiet, tranquil oasis that seems a world away from the busyness of the front of the home.

Ensure the Interior is Quiet

Although you may be unable to avoid hearing the noise of passing traffic while being outside the home, there are things you can do to make sure that your home’s interior is guarded against the noise. Make sure your windows and doors are sealed properly with adequate caulking and hang heavy drapery over your windows to help absorb the sound.

If your budget permits, consider swapping your current windows with triple-pane, noise-reducing windows and ensure that your walls are well-insulated. Buyers will be pleasantly surprised when they see that the noise they may hear when they are outside can barely be noticed when indoors.

Play Up the Convenience of Transportation

There are plenty of buzzwords that real estate agents use to make a home sound as attractive as possible to buyers, and “convenient transportation” is often one of them. Buyers who are looking for easy access to major roadways might actually appreciate being close to a busy street. This is especially true if there are public transit stops within close proximity.

And if you happen to be on the main drag, you’ll also likely be close to shops, eateries, and other amenities that buyers might find convenient. Play up these points in order to make it look as if living on a busy road is a good thing rather than a bad one.

Advertise Your Home as a Potential Live-Work Space

Many people work from home, so perhaps marketing your home as a potential live-work commercial property may a great way to attract this specific demographic of buyers. Some buyers may even be looking for an exclusive commercial unit, which your home may be able to serve.

After checking with your local government officials and ensuring that the current zoning laws would permit your home to be used as a commercial unit, you could potentially advertise your home as either residential or commercial.

Anyone who runs a business knows how helpful it is to be located on a street that gets plenty of traffic, and therefore plenty of eyes on the business. In this way, you can open up your pool of buyers and increase the odds of finding an interested buyer sooner.

The Bottom Line

Many buyers might see homes that are located on busy roads as a bad thing. But many others might be able to overlook such a feature if you play up other components of your home. Speak with your real estate agent about what you can do to your home to play down the traffic and noise, and consider savvy ways to market your home to buyers who may actually appreciate such close proximity to a main road.